It’s getting to be a bit of a habit. United are the better side – if not by much – play well, but don’t get what they deserve from the match.
Forest, Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Bolton, Wednesday and now Villa. Not converting of chances created, inspired goalkeepers and the woodwork appear to be the main problems at the moment. There’s not much wrong with the way the team is playing.
I mentioned last week about Chris Wilder doing his shopping at Aldi, but Villa showed the value of Fortnum and Mason-quality goods, though not all their expensive purchases have succeeded. Scott Hogan for £12 million? They’re having a laugh – give me Leon Clarke any day. But the game was decided by a flash of real class that sort of money gets you, as Robert Snodgrass vividly emphasised. He has been transferred for fees amounting to over £20 million in his career.
Nearly every one of our players has come from League One or below, and all have made the switch without a hitch, but that’s not the same as filling your team with players such as Snodgrass, John Terry and James Chester.
One of those who has made a smooth transition to this level is George Baldock. Billy Sharp might have been voted Man of the Match against Preston, but Baldock was the stand-out player on the pitch by a distance.
Basham’s appearance on the pitch showed up how much United missed him and Jack O’Connell on the other side. Ben Heneghan did well defensively on his debut and Jake Wright was his usual solid self, but neither got forward the way Bash and Jack do.
The way United play the wing-backs probably do more running than anybody else and Kieron Freeman’s bad injury threw even more responsibility on Baldock, who initially struggled to shake off his own series of pulls and strains. Now he’s at full throttle he’s one of United’s best attacking threats. And he’ll have to continue to be so because, in Wilder’s words, Freeman is “back on the grass”.